Photo: ADRA Syria

On February 6, 2023, a major earthquake struck the bordering territory of Türkiye and Syria. This earthquake and hundreds of aftershocks caused vast destruction on each side. Thousands of women, men, and children lost their lives. Essential infrastructure, including health facilities, were destroyed.

At least 8.8 million people have been affected by the earthquake in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria), where, prior to the earthquake, an estimated 15.3 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance.

Photo: ADRA Syria

Photo: ADRA Syria

“When the earthquake happened, my sister and I were sleeping. My mother woke us up and told us to get out of the house. It was shaking in all directions. We were very scared and ran into the street, and there were a lot of people. We were soaked from the rain and very cold,” said Adam, an eight-year-old resident of the Al-Haffah district of Latakia, Syria, on February 20, 2023.

From the first hours after the disaster, ADRA teams were on the ground to provide emergency assistance to those most affected, especially children, pregnant women, and the elderly: distribution of emergency supplies (food, drinking water, blankets, etc.) and provision of generators to restore the drinking water distribution system.

How ADRA Was Able to Help with Your Donation

In Türkiye, ADRA supported rescue teams and various local organizations, which provided emergency shelters and relief supplies to those affected. In total, over 50 aid workers were deployed and provided over 9,000 people with winterproof tents, gas cookers, and warm clothing. Following the emergency relief operations, ADRA ended its work in Türkiye and is now focusing its aid on families in Syria, where it took up its relief work immediately following the earthquake.

ADRA has been working in Syria for many years and was thus able to help immediately after the disaster. The team of around 110 employees and volunteers were deployed in three regions: Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama. In the first few days after the disaster, they distributed 14,005 meals, 3,572 food parcels, and 590 blankets, as well as repaired three emergency shelters. The aid in the first phase reached around 46,000 women, men, and children.

What Needs to Be Done Now: Reconstruction After the Earthquake

In the first phase, ADRA ensured the survival of the people on the ground. The agency has been working on reconstruction in Latakia, Aleppo, and Hama. Destroyed schools are being renovated. School children who could no longer attend school due to the earthquake receive extra tuition. This makes it easier for them to return to school. Families also receive technical advice and a financial subsidy to enable them to reopen their small businesses. This allows the families to stand on their own two feet again.

Families who are not yet able to repair their homes are also receiving support. Shelters have been renovated and upgraded with suitable hygiene facilities. ADRA distributes aid packages containing hygiene products, diapers for babies, warm clothing, mattresses, and blankets. ADRA is providing cleaning products to improve hygiene in different collective shelters. Families receive a grant so that they can repair their damaged homes. The agency is also working with the local authorities to repair the water networks, such as water channels and overhead water tanks.

Homeless and Unemployed—Nahla Finds New Hope

Photo: ADRA Syria

Photo: ADRA Syria

With your support, ADRA is not only investing in reconstruction but also giving single mothers like Nahla the chance of a better life for themselves and their children.

Nahla is the mother of two girls and two boys. Before the devastating earthquake, they all led a simple but contented life. She always wanted all four children to go to school. The family home was destroyed in the earthquake on February 6, 2023, and Nahla lost her job as a cleaner. Since then, the five of them have lived in one room in the Omar Abu Risha collective accommodation center. Nahla is grateful that her children are still alive, but the effects of the earthquake are omnipresent. The daughters still go to school, but the sons have dropped out and go to work to support their families.

Nahla got to know ADRA in the collective accommodation center, where it distributes food and hygiene products. One day, Nahla was offered the opportunity to take care of the cleanliness in the collective center. She accepted and drew new hope from this job.

Nahla knows how difficult it is to provide for a family with limited resources. She said, “Every mother fights for a good future for her children!”

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-European Division website.